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During 1500 and 1800, Europe’s slave trade is still active and working, but in 1807 England outlawed the trans-Atlantic slave trade and then eventually slavery itself. Ever since slavery came to an end, the interest of European nations shifted to imperialism in Africa which lead to many European countries slowly colonizing the lands of Africa. From this, European imperialism started to be driven by social darwinism, desire for economic stability, and most importantly nationalism and competition.
One of the more minor motive for the imperialism is that European nations believes that they are a more “advanced” race of people, therefore they feel the need to “help” africa evolve into a more modern civilization. For instance, in John Ruskin’s lecture held at Oxford University, he said, “…She must found colonies… formed of her most energetic and worthiest men… and there teaching these her colonist…” By saying this, it shows that by being a more futuristic civilization, Britain must go out and find places to establish colonies and help the natives become a more present civilization. to add on, in Rudeyard Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burdens” it also demonstrates a sense of social darwinism stating, “… go bind your sons to exile/ to serve your captives need…” This shows that europe sent their best men to the colonies to assist the “captives”, which are the natives, in their “needs” like teaching them how to use the machines that they brought over,how to use the modernized weapons and overall how to improve their living conditions.
Another motive that could be is the drive for economical power and stability. Africa holds many valuable resources that the Europeans could have needed for example in the chart of “Selected African Colonies and Their Exports”, it shows the resources that were useful to britain like “copper, zinc, lead, and coal”. And because these resources are rare and valuable, the british would have to find a quick and easy way to acquire them, which happened to to be owning the land that produces these materials, leading to a high number of colonization of European countries in Africa. also in The British Empire written by Trevor Owen Lloyd, it shows a graph of imports and exports during 1854 and 1900, and the difference between the number of exports in 1854 against 1900 is a drastic change. This evidence proves that the european nations were basically raiding the land of africa of its resources but not giving enough back. and from these resources, the europeans are obtaining so much profit from reselling them to other countries, while the workers in africa are very harshly exploited and africa, itself, is low on its own resources.
The last and most critical motive for the imperialism is nationalism and competition. To show, in Does Germany Need Colonies by Freidrich Fabri, it talks about how Germany needs to step up and renounce their status as the most powerful country in Europe stating, “…It would be wise if we Germans would learn about colonial skills from our Anglo-Saxon [British] cousins and…to strive after them.” In other words, Fabri is suggesting that Germans are perfectly capable of achieving the attainments of the British, therefore they should go and create colonies in Africa. This implies nationalism within Germany and competition among the European countries for power. Likewise, in the map of “Partitions of Africa, 1884-85”, it displays the areas of Africa that are colonized by the Europeans. This map implies competition between the European countries and it basically shows that the nations are competing against each other for the lands which holds the resources much needed by the European countries. And therefore, whichever country owns the most land will automatically have the most power economically and politically.
Though the colonization of the European did help the people achieve a better and more modern way of life, it did exploit their rights as humans in the work force. Imperialism in Africa was not exactly a negative occurrence, but it was not exactly a positive one either because of the driving forces.
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